Dishes historically developed from ingredients readily available; thus, items such as collard greens, grits, and okra are considered soul food staples. Kiki’s Chicken and Waffles is an upscale soul food establishment that draws from historical culinary paths, as well as forges new ones.
Chicken, as the restaurant’s name implies, is combined with such items as waffles and French toast.
There is a marrying of traditional breakfast menu items with lunch and dinner items. Co-owner Kiki Smith, for example, says her favorite selection at her establishment is Smothered Pork Chops and Mashed Potatoes, while her fiance and co-owner, Tyrone Cyrus, loves the French Toast and Chicken Wings. Large Belgium waffles in a variety of flavors, including original, walnut, blueberry, wheat grain, and chocolate chip, are favorites as well.
The Chicken and Waffle Salad, which is a salad with grilled or fried chicken and waffle bread on the side. Also popular is the shrimp and grits or the fish and grits.
The children’s menu is not the typical chicken fingers and fries, but, instead, includes a few menu items pared down for small appetites: chicken and waffles, chicken and French toast, and shrimp, for examples. Desserts include apple pie, a chocolate waffle with ice cream, and a customer favorite: the red velvet waffle.
Because soul food is popular not just in the South, and because the chicken and waffle concept has enticed food lovers recently in cities like Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Harlem, points out Smith, the owners felt that the culinary idea would be a hit in Columbia as well. “We came up with a menu that is not too complex, but gives customers choices - not just chicken and waffles. Most of the recipes are from my grandmother and mother, and some are my own,” she says.